M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Image 1: a group of children and adults celebrate for the camera while standing on a front porch. Image 2: two men wearing white lab coats look at a piece of equipment inside a lab. Image 3: a woman with dark hair wearing a white blouse smiles while holding a large plate of food. Image 4: a young boy looks at a museum exhibit of a gold-studded guitar.

This time of year always carries its own special energy. People are out and about, giving time and resources as they work to serve and improve their communities. As the winter thaw settles in, days become longer and the sun encourages blooms and blossoms to make their debut. There’s a palpable energy in the air.

The halls of the Murdock Trust are no different. Following our winter grants meeting, our entire staff is buzzing as we reflect on the incredible projects that are set to get underway in the Pacific Northwest, serving a diverse collection of communities across the arts and culture, health and human services, scientific research and educational sectors.

In our first meeting of 2018, the Murdock Trustees approved 96 grants totaling more than $14.7 million to groups like the Portland Art Museum, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, MultiCare Health Foundation, Montana State University, and Franklin County Medical Center. Since our founding in 1975, the Trust has now made more than 6,400 grants for more than $938 million.

While those numbers are exciting, our energy is sparked more by the types of projects, programs and creative initiatives in which we are able to play a small part. Dozens of nonprofits are generating innovative solutions to challenging problems by collaborating with new partners. We’ve included a small sampling of these efforts from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington below. It is this kind of outside-the-box thinking that helps cities thrive and prosper.

Communities flourish when representatives of diverse backgrounds are able to come together and collaborate on solutions that serve individuals, families and communities for the common good. Our colleague and friend, Neil Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps, shone light on some examples of how individuals are putting robust collaboration in play in a variety of circumstances, ranging from the halls of Congress to individual communities around the globe. Similarly, Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, called for a return to civil discourse and collaboration in his recent leadership letter. He states:

“Vigorous disagreements, expressed with civility and respect, strengthen a democratic and pluralistic culture. Conformity of ideas leads to stagnation and mediocrity.”

Today, we are encouraged by the countless examples of nonprofits, community organizations and individuals who are working together in unconventional coalitions to tackle challenging issues facing communities in rural, urban and suburban regions. Watch this short video to see the impact of just a few of the groups serving the Pacific Northwest and hear their stories.

We look forward to seeing how our most recent grantees are able to contribute to fulfill the “promise” of the nonprofit motto – Serving people and making the world a better place.

Our sincere thanks and gratitude for all that YOU do to serve the community,

Steven G.W. Moore
Executive Director


  • Children across Alaska will gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the stunning beauty of their natural landscape through outreach conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society as a result of adding new staff to their team.
  • New staff at Alaska Correctional Ministries will bring career training to inmates. The program leverages technology, digital classroom settings and virtual testing to maximize the experience for participants.
  • Sitka Fine Arts Camp (also known as Alaska Arts Southeast) will protect a piece of the region’s past as they renovate and restore the historic Allen Hall. When complete, the space will provide a venue for a variety of performance companies while simultaneously preserving the history of Alaska.

Image 1: two members of a film crew stand on the shore of water looking at their equipment. Text overlay says "Wildlife Conservation Society. Image 2: a group of men, most of them wearing yellow jumpsuits, sit around a table inside a room. Text overlay says "Alaska Correctional Ministries." Image 3: a lineup of young musicians play their instruments outside. Text overlay says "Sitka Fine Arts Camp."


  • The holidays will shine a bit brighter in Boise as Ballet Idaho constructs brand new sets and scenery for their annual flagship production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.
  • Inland Northwest Community Foundation utilizes hard data and deep research to bring coalitions of funders, nonprofit groups and local residents together to address a community-identified challenge. New staff will help expand these efforts to tackle more challenges across the region.

Image 1: a group of ballerinas perform onstage to a stage backdrop of green trees and a waterfall. Text overlay says "Ballet Idaho." Image 2: a woman with gray hair sits on a bed and smiles while a nurse with dark hair and glasses takes her blood pressure.


  • Vital Ground Foundation will help protect the population of local grizzly bears by setting aside precious land for these beautiful animals to safely roam.

a brown bear and a bear cub in a field of green grass. Text overlay says "Vital Grounds Foundation."


  • A thoughtful renovation of cabin facilities will expand accessibility and capacity for B’nai Brith Camp in Lincoln City.
  • More families in need will receive housing support as Habitat for Humanity Oregon expands staffing.
  • Salem Free Clinics will be able to offer a stronger continuity of care to low-income, underinsured and uninsured adults in Marion and Polk Counties by adding a key staff position.
  • An innovative new restaurant facility from Meals on Wheels will provide senior citizens in need with a wider variety of meal options, as well as more flexibility in their access to dining.
  • Addressing increased demand for its wide array of educational programs and mentoring services, Adelante Mujeres will open the doors of a brand new, 17,000-square-foot building in the heart of downtown Forest Grove.

Image 1: five teenage girls smile and show thumbs up for the camera while outside. Text overlay says "B'nai Brith Camp." Image 2: two women wearing pink t-shirts give each other a high five on a construction site. Text overlay says "Habitat for Humanity Oregon." Image 3: a man with a gray mustache wearing glasses and a gray checkered shirt smiles while holding two plates of food, with a woman wearing a green sweater standing nearby. Text overlay says "Meals on Wheels." Image 4: a woman with dark straight hair wearing a green shirt sits next to a nurse with dark straight hair wearing blue scrubs. Text overlay says "Salem Free Clinics." Image 4: a young girl with long, straight, dark hair wearing a maroon t-shirt smiles while looking at a small vile with purple liquid in it. Text overlay says "Adelante Mujeres."


  • Days for Girls International partners with volunteer chapters as well as micro-enterprises to help distribute menstrual products to women and girls in need around the globe. The unique program serves basic health and hygiene needs while facilitating job creation and community ownership.
  • Researchers at the University of Washington will help advance the research of quantum materials which may lend critical advancements in clean energy, solar cell development and chemical manufacturing through the acquisition of a milliKelvin optoelectronic instrument.
  • A new, 23,000-square-foot facility in Kennewick, Washington, will provide children with space to learn and play when school is out of session through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties.
  • Through partnerships with clean water manufacturers, the team at Splash International was able to create a sustainable water filtration system for impoverished communities in Asia and Africa. New staff at Splash will help the organization bring clean water as well as educational services and infrastructure improvements.

Image 1: two girls wearing holding colorful, hand-sewn bags smile for the camera. Text overlay says "Days for Girls." Image 2: two young girls look at the camera wearing white blouses and red skirts, with a group of girls in the background. Text overlay says "Splash International." Image 3: a woman with short dark hair wearing glasses sits in a science laboratory. Text overlay says "University of Washington." Image 4: three youth wearing t-shirts that say "Boys & Girls Clubs" smile for the camera outside. Text overlay says "Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties."

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